Author: Darren Lehane

The bride and groom at the start of the Highdown Vineyard wedding in West Sussex.

Highdown Vineyard Wedding Photographer – Sienna & Phil

I love a Highdown Vineyard wedding.  As a wedding photojournalist I’ve shot there a number of times and it’s without doubt one of the best wedding venues in West Sussex.  So when Sienna and Phil asked me to be their wedding photographer there, I just couldn’t wait to get started! Street Photography Wedding Photographer Sienna puts the finishing touches to her hair for the big day. One of the reasons Sienna and Phil chose me to be their Highdown Vineyard wedding photographer was because of their love for street photography.  Being an obsessive street photographer in my personal work, they knew I’d be a great fit for documenting their wedding story in a natural and candid way.

The bride grabs an elder guest during the wedding at Frilford Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire.

Frilford Heath Golf Club Wedding Reception

The evening reception is one of my favourite parts of the wedding day, and this Frilford Heath Golf Club wedding reception was no different. It’s Time To Celebrate The great part about the evening reception is that everyone is ready to have fun and party.  The serious part of the wedding day is out of the way, everyone’s been fed and the drinks are usually flowing.  It’s the part of the wedding day when the couple can properly celebrate their tying of the knot. As a wedding photographer I always stay beyond the first dance – at least for an hour minimum but often longer – to document all those great expressions, great emotions and, yes, even those great dance floor moves. Frilford Heath Golf Club Wedding Reception Here a joyous bride has grabbed hold of an elderly wedding guest and is getting her disco groove thang on. You simply can’t create that kind of emotion on her face or the genuine nature of the moment.  As a documentary wedding photographer I want to capture …

The bride and groom dancing during a wedding at Wandsworth Town Hall

Wandsworth Wedding Photographer London – Andrea & Nick

I previously shot Andrea and Nick’s Nigerian Wedding Blessing at St Anselm’s church in Tooting Bec in the London Borough of Wandsworth .  So as a Wandsworth wedding photographer it was great to be back there again a week or so later for their formal wedding day, before moving on to Wandsworth Town Hall for the evening celebrations.

Wedding cake and waiters at Marriott Meon Valley wedding

Marriott Meon Valley Wedding Cake – Why I Love This Image

There’s often a presumption that wedding photojournalists are only concerned with documenting people at weddings and that we don’t really bother with wedding detail shots.  Well, that’s why I’ve chosen this photo of a wedding cake at the Marriott Meon Valley Hotel and Country Club near Southampton in Hampshire for inclusion in my Why I Love This Image series. Wedding Details & the Wedding Photojournalist As an experienced wedding photographer I realise the importance of details shots.  After all, you have spent a lot of time, thought and money on choosing the smaller details of your wedding day.  It’s only natural you will want a documented record of these.  And a wedding photojournalist is there to capture all elements of your wedding story. But when I shoot the wedding details, such as a wedding cake, I also like to include some context and, wherever possible, some storytelling too.  There’s definitely no reason you can’t pull all these elements together, as this wedding cake shot demonstrates. The Wedding at the Marriott Meon Valley Hotel The wedding …

Black and white photo of SD cards and Olympus EM1 Mark 2 camera

Can We Have The RAW Files For Our Wedding Photos?

It’s one of those things I regularly get asked as a wedding photographer by couples: “Can we have the RAW files for our wedding photos, please?” Of course, it’s a reasonable request and I fully understand why couples would ask for the RAW files.  However, there are good reasons why I don’t provide my RAW files. But first of all, you may be wondering what a RAW file is?  Let me explain… What Is A RAW File? In a basic sense, as described on Wikipedia: “Raw image files are sometimes called digital negatives, as they fulfill the same role as negatives in film photography: that is, the negative is not directly usable as an image, but has all of the information needed to create an image.“ In technical speak a RAW file is an uncompressed file that contains the raw image data. It provides the image data exactly as it was captured by the camera, without loss of quality and without compression.  It then needs to be converted to an image file, such as a JPEG, via software.  …

Street photography of people at a bus stop in Wallington, London.

The Street Photography Wedding Photographer in Wallington

As people may know by now, my personal street photography is very important to me.  Not just as a creative outlet but also in my approach as a documentary wedding photographer.  It’s why I have on occasion been dubbed the “street photography wedding photographer.” Urban Street Diving So I’m delighted to have had some of my street photography featured on the Urban Street Diving (USD) website.  It was also nice to have been interviewed as part of the article.  Andreas, the guy behind USD had asked me a couple of time if I’d do a contribution for the website.  The idea being to do a very short and brisk shoot in a single location. So being a Wallington wedding photographer I decided to go out to try and shoot some street photography around Wallington.  You can see the results and read the interview me over on Urban Street Diving. The Street Photography Wedding Photographer So why is street photography so important to me as documentary wedding photographer? Well, when it comes to your wedding photography …

The bride is hugged during a speech in the Nigerian wedding blessing in St Anselm's church hall in Tooting Bec, London.

Nigerian Wedding Blessing – St Anselm’s, Tooting Bec

When Andrea and Nick told me they were planning a traditional Nigerian wedding blessing a week before their actual wedding day, at St Anselm’s in Tooting Bec, London, I just knew I had to include that in the wedding photography package I offered them. After all, as soon as I think of traditional African weddings I immediately think vibrant colours, song, vibrant colour, dance and, did I mention, vibrant colours – everything that my documentary wedding photography approach would love to capture..  And I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

5 Good Reasons to Spend More on a Professional Wedding Photographer

Once again, one of the top regrets of newlywed couples is having not spent enough on a wedding photographer for their wedding day. Of course, being a professional wedding photographer you’d most probably expect me to say that. But don’t take my word for it. Recent survey results by The Registry Site, as reported by In Style magazine confirms:

My 5 Favourite…Images from Steph & Dan’s Brighton Wedding Photography

Holiday Inn Brighton Wedding Photography It’s hard to believe that it was back in July 2013 that I photographed Steph and Dan’s Brighton wedding.  I can still recall quite clearly all the moments, emotions and stories from the day, as if it were only yesterday. So I thought I’d look back and select my five favourites from all the wedding photos I shot that day and explain why.  So in no particular order:

Black and white wedding photography of same sex wedding couple, Arad and Brian, leaping off of the ornamental stones in the piazza, at the Pump House in Battersea Park. The Pump House is undoubtedly one of the best wedding venues in Wandsworth, London.

Battersea and Chelsea Wedding Photography – Arad & Brian

Arad & Brian’s Same-Sex Wedding As a wedding photographer I was delighted to be chosen for Arad and Brian’s same sex wedding, as a result of being found on Instagram by Arad.  Arad a keen photographer and lover of photography himself knew he wanted a very candid and storytelling approach to his and Brian’s wedding day – and it was my natural wedding reportage photography on Instagram that led him to me.  The wedding was going to be split between the wonderful Pump House in Battersea Park and at the cool Bluebird Restaurant on the Kings Road in Chelsea.  As a London documentary wedding photographer they really were London wedding venues I dream of shooting at.

5 Great Litter Free Alternatives To Confetti On Your Wedding Day

Throwing confetti at the happy wedding couple is one of the great wedding traditions.  It’s said to date back to Ancient Egypt where it was believed showering the just married couple with seeds would bestow the gift of great fertility upon them. However, as great as confetti is, and as a wedding photographer I do love to document those fabulous confetti showers, it does leave behind bit of a mess for someone to clean up afterwards.  For that reason, a lot of wedding venues have strict restrictions on the use of confetti.

Morning bridal preparations in Kislingbury, Northamptonshire, as a newborn baby is fed.

Why I Love This Image: The Mothers & The Babies

A Reportage Wedding Photographer As a reportage wedding photographer it’s not always the big moments I’m looking to document on the wedding day.  Sometimes it’s those little details that can also say much and form such a touching part of the wedding story.

An abstract wedding photo of the couple's first dance at Waltham Abbey in Essex

Why I Love This Image: The Abstract First Dance

As an award winning wedding photographer, and active member of the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (AGWPJA), I’m always looking to capture things a little differently, more creatively when I photograph a wedding.

10 Great Tips for Wedding Toasts

As a wedding photographer I’ve seen and heard a lot of wedding toasts and speeches in my time. Some good, some bad and a few that were exceptional.  So I definitely think I’m pretty well placed to give a few tips and advice on how to deliver a great wedding toast.  I previously posted about when to do the wedding speeches, but here I’ll tell you more about wedding toasts and how to deliver them. History of Wedding Toasts It’s been argued that wedding toasts date all the way back to the 6th century BC. Glasses would be raised and clinked – causing the contents to spill into one another’s vessels, a reassurance that the drink wasn’t poisoned.  This is most probably what the phrase “good health” comes from. The wedding link would come from the old tradition of warring tribes and conflicts being ended by marriages between clans – and thus toasting was then a reassurance of peace on all sides. The term ‘toast’ itself was first coined by Shakespeare in the Merry Wives …

Unposed wedding photography of the groom assisting with the bride's wedding dress, outside the marquee at the wedding reception in Stapehill, Dorset.

Simple and Straight Forward Wedding Photography Prices

As a London wedding photographer, who covers the whole of the UK and destination weddings overseas, I believe in offering a straightforward and simple pricing structure for my wedding photography prices.  This I believe matches my straightforward storytelling approach to documentary wedding photography. In the past I have offered a number of different wedding photography packages – which included lots of different types of options – intended to provide wedding photography for different budgets. However, I found these often confused potential wedding couples or couples would then want to change contents of the packages. So I’ve taken the decision to do away with wedding photography packages and simply offer two straightforward wedding fees that cover the entire wedding day without the need to tailor anything further. For a full day’s coverage – which is usually from 2 hours before the ceremony time through to at least an hour after the first dance – including the traditional portraits and group shots then my fee is £1250.00. However, if you want a pure documentary wedding photography approach …

Colour Storytelling wedding photography of the bride and groom being showered wih confetti, after the wedding ceremony at All Saints Church, Hampreston, in Wimborne, Dorset.

Dorset Wedding Photography – Ellie & James

The Wedding Day in Ferndown, Hampreston and Stapehill I came to be the wedding photographer for Ellie and James’ wedding down in Dorset simply because James is the son of Steve – who is often my second photographer when I require one at weddings.  So it was one of those rare occasions where I was meeting the bride and groom for the first time on the wedding day itself.

Colour London engagement photography of the couple in the gardens of teh Tate Britain in Pimlico. Taken by London wedding photographer Darren Lehane.

London Engagement Shoot – Anne & Alex

From Vauxhall to Pimlico: A Modern European Love Story A few months back I had the pleasure and honour of shooting Anne and Alex’s engagement photography around Vauxhall and Pimlico in London.  However, their love story actually started 4 years before this in a ruined bar called Szimpla in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. With Anne being Finnish and Alex the quintessential Englishman, theirs is truly a modern European love story that crosses borders. Vauxhall & I What immediately struck me about Anne and Alex was their down to earth and fun nature.  This was a couple relaxed in one another’s company, who were easy going and didn’t want too much fuss.  In many ways this is exactly the kind of couples I find are drawn to my relaxed and unobtrusive approach to documentary photography. So the plan was very an engagement shoot that was was fairly low key, fun and relaxed.  With the sun shining we headed up onto the Vauxhall Bridge, which provides a beautiful downstream view of the Thames and London’s South …

Colour wedding photography of the vicar leading the bridal party into St Peter & St Paul church in Nether Heyford, Northampton.

A beautiful rural wedding in Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire

Gemma & Chris’ do-it-yourself backyard wedding in the heart of England Yes, I’m still catching up on a number of previous weddings here on my blog.  When Gemma married Chris it was a truly beautiful day on what I can only describe as an archetypal rural English wedding in pretty Northamptonshire. I’ve actually known Chris for almost 30 years now, although we hadn’t really seen much of one another in the last 15 years or so.  So it was an absolute honour and thrill to be asked to document his and Gemma’s wedding in the village of Nether Heyford – where Chris had spent his childhood growing up and still a community he has very strong ties to. So I knew it was going to be a very special wedding day. Bridal Preparations at home in Abington, Northampton My day started early, as it usually does, turning up at the couple’s home in Abington, Northampton where Gemma and her bridal party were preparing for the wedding day ahead.  As is always the way with bridal …

James cuddles Lizzie during this engagement photography shoot in Battersea Park, London.

Battersea Park Engagement Shoot – A Sneak Peek

What a gorgeous day it was today and there was no better way than spending it shooting an engagement session with the gorgeous Lizzie and James in London’s Battersea Park. Here’s a quick sneak peek from that engagement shoot. I hope you enjoy. If you’re getting married and would love to book me for a fun and beautiful engagement photography session, then please do give me a call on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page. I’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Colour documentary wedding photography of male wedding guests enjoying cigars, during the evening reception at Highdown Vineyard in Ferring, West Sussex.

Why I Love This Image: Groomsmen, Cigars & a Toy Lens

To be honest, there are lots of things I love about this image from Crystal & Dom’s Highdown Vineyard wedding in West Sussex. It was early evening, during the wedding reception, and the warm summer sun was setting on the Sussex countryside.  A number of the groomsmen and male wedding guests had sneaked outside to enjoy a celebratory wedding cigar. At the time I was experimenting with a new lens on one of my cameras, and a plastic toy lens at that! Made by SLRMagic and near on a 50mm field of view, it’s a lens that gives a quirky and imperfect view of the world.  In many ways it’s the closest I’ve come to an old film analogue look on a digital camera – without any post processing that is. There was definitely a real retro and timeless vibe to the scene, which was perfectly enhanced by the toy lens.  This is really helped by the central standing male, sparking up his cigar, and with a vintage look straight out of the TV historical …

Award winning street photographer DArren Lehane

Award-Winning Street Photographer

Award-Winning Street Photography Wedding Photographer Yes, it’s now officially announced…I’m one of the winners of the International Street Photography 2016 competition – run by PDN in conjunction with publishers Acuity Press. As a result of being one of the winners I will be featured in a book curated and published by renowned photography historian and curator Mr Colin Westerbeck. To be chosen by Westerbeck, including other judges such as the legend that is Alex Webb, is extremely flattering and humbling. The Creative Engine That Drives My Documentary Wedding Photography As I’ve often said, my passion for candid street photography is very much the creative engine that informs and drives my natural documentary approach to wedding photography.  To be awarded by such legends, not just in street and documentary photography, but photography as a whole, demonstrates how seriously I take my work. Lots of photographers talk about passion – but few actually demonstrate it. For me, passion is an action, not a word. It’s taken my well over a decade of going out on the streets, …

Battersea Park pre-wedding photography shoot with same sex couple, Arad and Brian, sat beside the boating lake.

Battersea Park Pre-Wedding Photography Shoot – Arad and Brian

Battersea Park – the ideal pre-wedding location As a London wedding photographer I’ve always thought that Battersea Park, in the London Borough of Wandsworth, is one of the most interesting of London parks, so I was thrilled when Arad and Brian asked me to photograph their same sex wedding in the park next month.  I was even more excited when they said they wanted their pre-wedding shoot to also take place in Battersea Park too.  It is such a beautiful park with so many great photographic backdrops, so I knew it was going to be an absolutely fantastic shoot. It was an absolutely gorgeous spring day for the shoot.  The sun was still warm and shining when the guys arrived late afternoon, fresh from wedding shopping earlier in the day.  We met at the Pear Tree cafe in the park and had a brief catch up before talking through what to expect with the shoot. Natural and Candid Pre-Wedding Photography The reason that Arad and Brian had booked me for their wedding was due to …

Two page article on advice on finding the right wedding photographer published in Amour Magazine

Article Published in Amour Magazine

I’m delighted to say that I have written an article for the 1st edition of Amour magazine – the Bedfordshire Wedding Directory, which has now been published.  The article, featuring my own wedding photography, gives 5 great tips  on how to find the right wedding photographer for your wedding day. I am also happy to confirm that I have been asked to provide a new article for the 2nd edition which will be published this summer. So if you are in Bedfordshire or getting married there, do make sure you find a copy of Amour for great tips, advice and news on getting married.

Colour wedding photography of the bride and groom embracing amongst the vines, during the wedding reception at Highdown Vineyard in Ferring, West Sussex.

Highdown Vineyard Wedding Photographer – Crystal and Dom

As a wedding photographer I’m so lucky to visit so many beautiful wedding venues around the country.  Highdown Vineyard, nestled cosily on the slopes of the South Downs, in-between Worthing and Littlehampton in West Sussex, is easily one of the most beautiful.  I also count myself very fortunate to have photographed a number of weddings at Highdown. So when I met up with Crystal and Dom, 6 months earlier on a cold grey day in south west London, and they told me they were having their wedding reception at Highdown Vineyard, I knew I had to be their wedding photographer. A Sussex Wedding Photographer In fact, the reason Crystal and Dom had contacted me about being their wedding photographer was because they had seen some of my previous Highdown Vineyard wedding photography whilst visiting this most beautiful West Sussex wedding venue. So once they had booked me, I couldn’t wait for their wedding day to come around.  And when the day came around I definitely wasn’t disappointed.  The sun was shining beautifully and I found …